This peculiarly local expression is only heard in the lower or eastern vales of the river Tees, a stream which, from the rapidity of its upper course, and from the numerous tributary rivers and smaller streams it receives in its passage down to the village of Croft, often rises very suddenly, and occasionally to the depth of nine, and even more, extra feet of water. The consequence was that, at a not very distant period, an inhabitant of Hurworth, who we may term the Warner of the Water, was usually despatched to Yarm, to give the inhabitants of that place notice of its approach.
On the morning of Sunday, the 17th November, 1771, the whole town of Yarm (not so much as a single house excepted) was laid under water. Six dwelling-houses were totally demolished and seven persons drowned.
The Denham Tracts. Vol.1 The Folklore Society 1892